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Author Archive: "Francesco Marciuliano"

Why You Were Right to Make That Big Mistake

First, I'd like to thank Powell's Books for having me as their guest blogger this week. It's been an absolute blast, made all the easier and more fun by the great people of this Portland institution.

Second, by being a guest blogger, it's allowed that little picture of my book to appear over and over again all week. Perhaps you can see it right now, embedded within this very page. Go on, wave hi to the orange cat on the cover. Go on. He won't wave back to you, though. Not because he's a photograph, but because he's busy posing. He's very professional that way. Still, he always appreciates the attention.

Now, writing these posts has given me a great opportunity to think, which writers always prefer to actually writing. That's because while writing demands that you see some words on the screen every six days or so, thinking can be accomplished by simply closing your eyes and saying, "Wow, look at me ride that kick-ass unicorn."

But, in truth, what I have been thinking all week is, Why do we do it? What compels writers, artists, actors, ...

A Teenager’s Account of the Very First Thanksgiving

It's always heartening to hear that your book would make a great holiday gift. One, because I love the holidays to an almost frightening degree. (I live in a small New York City apartment where outside on my deck are two large bins — one for my 8-foot artificial Christmas tree, the other for my Christmas ornaments.) And two, because the giving of books has always played such a joyful part in the holiday season.

In fact, one of the greatest Christmas gifts I ever received as a kid was in 1977 when I unwrapped a set of comic books — Peanuts Classics and Peanuts Treasury — which as you can see by the photo on the left, I still have (and reference) to this day. I know the exact year of the gift because of the inscription inside from my parents.

My only wish is that I had received these books when I was just a little younger so that the signature inside would have been from Santa instead. That way, today when friends would come by my apartment, I could open up the books and say, "Look whose autograph I got! Isn't that freaking amazing?!" Then my friends would give me that look that indicates they're trying to find the most delicate way possible to bring up the subject of psychiatric evaluation, all the while fearing I'm next going to show them a bell I believe is from Santa's reindeer harness that only I can hear (and which they can tell from my insistent clanging is clearly a cowbell).

Writing So You Can Review Other People’s Writings

Some of the great things about getting my cat poetry book published — after failing to get my cat coffee table book (pictured to the left) published, my cat fitness book published, and my cat YA vampire book accepted by my printer — are all the perks that go with being an author. Like watching a family member's face when they excitedly unwrap his or her birthday present only to find a copy of your book, followed by their comment "But you already made me buy three of these. And at least those were signed to the right person." Or walking into a bookstore and inquiring after your work incognito, despite the fact that there is no way they'd ever know who the hell you were in the first place, meaning you just wasted six hours in the makeup chair and a whole year in Laplander dialect coaching.

But one perk I haven't experienced as an author is being asked to review another author's work. That's the sort of illustrious invitation that lets you know you've finally arrived and that you can count on squeezing at least one more paycheck out of this whole writing thing (not to mention at least one free book).

In the great hope that I am one day asked to do so, I decided to build my critical analysis portfolio by reviewing a few books on spec. I specifically chose business-management books to show that I possess a wide range of publishing knowledge outside of cats and because after reading a bunch of cat books, I realized many of them are actually quite remarkable, and I started to get real insecure real fast.

So let us begin with...

Man Up! And Other Masculine Tips by Cats

For years cat people have been portrayed as feeble-minded Ms. Havishams who make cozies for their sleeping pets and say things like, "My cat gives the best investment advice," or, "I hope there was an apostle named 'Muffins' because I just got a 13th tabby for my Last Supper tableau." Dog people, on the other hand, have always been portrayed as strong. Virile. Able to consume large slabs of meat while cat people struggle with the bag to their Halls cough drops because they feel a tickle in their throat.

But today I wish not only to highlight these stereotypes as blatant lies but also shine a light on how cats are the true paragons — and true mentors — of masculinity. For, you see, as a longtime cat person, I've spent several years analyzing cats in lieu of actual work. (Because when you state as your career objective "humor writer/syndicated cartoonist," you might as well write "falconer/pearl diver" on your resume). And in that time I realized just how much cats had to teach me, not only about myself but also about being a man. A real man who can still correctly identify the plotline to any Golden Girls episode before the close of the opening credits (especially if it's a Sophia one).

And so, with that in mind, I present to you "Man Up! And Other Masculine Tips by Cats," starting with...

A Day in a Life Spent Writing and/or Stalling

First, I would like to give a big "Thank You!" to Powell's for inviting me to guest blog this week. I'm sure it will be a great deal of fun right up until about Friday, at which point everyone will realize what a frightful mistake this has been and expunge all records of my posts from Google. Then Yahoo. Then Ask Jeeves, should it still be 1999.

Second, as the author of I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats, I promise I will indeed address topics of a most feline nature in the coming days. I would like to start off by responding to the one question authors get more than any other. No, not "Where do you get your ideas?" or "What inspires you?" or "How often does your credit card get declined?" Rather, the query "Just who the hell do you think you are, calling what you do 'work'?! Why should anyone anywhere think anything you do could even be considered a job?! As far as I'm concerned, they should bury your sorry—" at which point I usually interrupt the elementary-school newspaper ...

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